Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life…”
The Bread Of Life.
What does it mean? If you ask any ordinary person or even those you know, you probably will hear the same answer as the one you already knew in your capacity as a human being who only see and understand earthly things. Surely, there’s no harm done being earthly as you or anyone would have presumably thought that what the bread of life means is nothing more than understanding it’s a piece of cake. Meaning to say: If you eat, it doesn’t matter whether it’s bread or not, you will live. If you don’t eat, you will die. Is that right? Yes, of course it is. You need not have to become a great philosopher to understand this fundamental human’s basic need to survive and live. Do you?
Jesus always like to use the simplest analogies to get his message across and yet people all the more got confused. The meaning of the bread of life that Jesus asserted is more than meets the eyes. What’s more, every thing else you would be easily seeing clearly through the eyes of Jesus the sooner you believe and accept him in your heart, mind and soul will help you to inherit eternal life as you strive to do God’s will no matter what’s the cost. Trust me, you will be so glad you did because it is so certain you would not score heavenly goals any other ways save the Lord’s way.
So, without questioning, people need to eat everyday and it doesn’t matter if one is rich or poor. For those who are rich, putting food on the table is of course, not by any means a life-threatening situation. As for the poor, that’s a different story altogether. One thing for sure is this. The poverty problem on earth will always exist because it is so certain that as long as our sinful nature of selfishness are not 100% subdued by the power of the Holy Spirit to have selflessness in us, people would still be feeling indifferent towards one another especially the rich towards the poor.
How many people have really followed Jesus this close? If you had not looked at what happened during Jesus’ ministry on earth where people who flocked to hear him speak and do wonders were usually the poor and helpless, you could not have imagined how grievously bad the situation of the world is, that so many people are without food even now. Yet, there are people still wasting food indiscriminately! The reason that Jesus showed the crowd he could feed 5,000 people with just 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread was an incredible miracle because of his faith in the One above who gave him the power so that people would believe he was from above too. Although the more than enough food that he provided miraculously for the crowd to eat was only for the day, but he never failed to tell his disciples to collect all the leftovers, thus teaching those who have enough to eat need be mindful not to waste food.
What Jesus inextricably aspired for the people to learn from the miracle was that it could relate to them he actually was the real bread of life that is everlasting! And that simply means if only every one of us in this world could relate to Jesus and eat the bread of life, no one needs be afraid of poverty anymore. That’s because when you truly believe in Jesus, you are also believing in the one and only Almighty God. Trust me, when your faith in Jesus becomes so strong and as solid as a rock, you would not have ever imagined in your life how your faith could have drawn the divine power from above that will make you become the ‘miracle’ to save others. And in so doing, saved yourself too. You’ll be so surprised when you don’t even have a dime, yet you ‘miraculously’ have food to eat somehow. Have you ever experienced that before? Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you.” That’s the power of believing Jesus. Do you believe this?
Probably, the least I could only imagine if I were in the crowd together with the poor and the helpless is that, I would have considered myself the most ‘fortunate’ poor man and much too honored to have Jesus around to feed me with a piece of bread and fish and witnessing him performing all the incredible miracles to heal and save people. It is something not even easy to imagine for many people today especially the hot-headed ones who don’t like to use their heads as much as they should.
Now, without having to go on an imagination mode, if one who sincerely loves and worship Jesus, the most amazing thing what one could easily notice about him is that, he always knew what’s in the hearts of man. But sadly, the humans today are getting so dumb and dumber that they couldn’t see the greatness in him. The greatness I’m talking about is not him wanting to become the King of the Jews on the outside, but that he is the King of Hearts on the inside. Tell me, has anyone got the point? Or is it all the more confusing and unimaginable than ever? In any instances, Jesus knew so well in advance that the crowd who were following him everywhere was not because of the amazing miracles he performed or about the kingdom of God to come that he was preaching, but because they ate the loaves and had their fill. Can you imagine how vain and feeble human beings could be? Yet, God so loved us!
If you still consider yourself a human being created in the image of God, and are still capable of having a weeny-tiny-little-bit of imagination, then shouldn’t you be feeling so ashamed of yourself by now that you still are not falling on your knees in fear and trembling and repent? Perhaps, a tight slap in the face left and right will help you to become a real human being again. If that actually becomes a religious law for everyone to practice at least 5 times a day and is the only condition to enter heaven, one really can’t help but wonder if those self-righteous religious leaders will go to the streets to protest or maybe start throwing shoes in religious courts!
So you can see clearly now why it prompted Jesus to teach us the real meaning of eating the bread of life. But if not knowing what you eat, what’s the point? That simply means, first you need to search deep into your heart to set not only all your priorities right, but also you need to know what is the top and most important one of all. What is it? You don’t need to become religiously inclined like the religious teachers to know what it is. That’s because it’s so simple even a child can follow. It’s always the grown-ups who can’t or won’t. If you follow Jesus this close, and understand why it was all the more significant that Jesus taught about love and compassion of which there are no laws, then you shouldn’t have problems knowing and understanding that everything good that comes from God that you receive is only possible by obeying two simple commandments. Yet no commandments are greater than these.
The Jews and the teachers of the law always found themselves either spellbound or simply shell-shocked with the teachings of Jesus and the way he answered their questions. It’s interesting how they never stopped testing Jesus by questioning him head-to-head and worse, sarcastically. They were like, so hungered for knowledge yet they failed to eat the bread of life. There was this incident that one of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer on a question about resurrection earlier, he asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love you neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him. “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Are you?
That is the reason Jesus never once taught the crowd about practicing religious laws or rituals that hold no significance. He always emphasized that what you are showing outside means nothing, but what’s inside your heart, that really matters – to God! Whether you love God and have him in your heart always or not, you can’t fool God and neither can you fool yourself, let alone others, even with your self-righteousness and religious practices on the outside. That’s because no religious laws or rituals can in any way make you “holy” and “righteous” anymore than it can make anyone else, if we do not repent and be reconciled with God through Jesus in the first place. As humans, our sinful nature would not allow us to strictly follow all the so-called religious laws from A to Z. Who can? Anyone who claims he can is telling the biggest lie not only to God but to himself as well. The only thing that can and possible to happen would eventually be that of throwing shoes in religious court as such thing had happened before.
Jesus had mentioned before that even if you look at a married woman with lust, you already have committed adultery in your heart. That means, even if you are all dressed up from head to toes looking seriously religious and pious, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you would not be having any lust at all when you are looking at any women whether they dressed scantily or decently. Based on that principle alone and even worse if it’s made to become a “religious law”, one would have already haphazardly committed adultery. How unthinkable it would be if one went ahead and married more than one wife and break that law arbitrarily? If you consider the case of the prophet Muhammad who indulgently married more than four wives while everyone else were restricted, whether or not with the excuse that it’s out of sympathy, or a “revelation” from God as claimed by the prophet himself, then you would understand clearly how could any laws religious or not, are good enough to gauge and control what’s in the hearts of man especially when it comes to lust? So don’t be fooling yourself that you can escape judgment from God just because you are looking so religiously “innocent” on the outside. It’s no wonder why people at that time wanted to stone Jesus when he dared to proclaim himself as the Son of God because as a human being, who can become holy like God? But it is big wonder that there are “humans” still don’t know how to eat the bread of life to this day even knowing that Jesus Christ is, indeed the Son of God after all!
After his triumphal entry to Jerusalem, the next day when Jesus was entering the temple area, he saw people turning the place like a market where people are buying and selling, he went on a rampage overturning tables and drove them out. Yes, of course it didn’t look good because it gave the impression that Jesus was somewhat “aggressive.” In fact, many look at this as contradicting what he had proclaimed himself – the Son of God. But this misunderstanding is urgently needed to set right nonetheless. What he did only goes to show that he was as eager as the Jews in observing the laws of Moses. Because they didn’t and yet had many times accused Jesus before, that’s why Jesus got angry. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nation’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And yet the crowd were amazed at his teaching. Put it this way. What if people start making your house a gambling den, would you not go on a rampage whether you are an upright person or not? I have heard all too often people used to quote that even Buddha could get all roused up with fire in the head sometimes – if grossly agitated!
Nevertheless, Jesus never failed to show mercy and graciousness of his Father in heaven by even daring to do miracles on Sabbath day to the point of defying the law and worse, offending those self-righteous religious teachers when they later arrested him and brought him to stand before the chief priest and scribes at the Sanhedrin for questioning. In trying to do good to save the people not for the sake of publicity, they made him feel “guilty” just to make sure he ended up being hated for not following after the laws to the book. So he became a subject of controversy that later led him to his death on the cross and even today he’s still being “crucified” by those who don’t believe him.
What people failed to see is that Jesus never failed to advocate to his people that he was only doing the will of the One who sent him, not his. He made it so clear that it was crucial for him to fulfill his Father’s will on earth so that man could become reconciled with God again. That was his top priority. He was not like giving the impression that the laws of Moses were bad just because he defied them. In fact, his purpose was to fulfill the law by becoming the curse because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13-14). The law itself is good only to the extent that it can keep the people from sinning. However, in the long run, it cannot bring about salvation and eternal life of which the people failed miserably to understand. As God’s chosen people, it’s hard to imagine how could they not comprehend the prophecies about the Son of Man.
Don’t forget. Everyone is under a curse because of sin. That’s why the penalty is death. In order to reverse the curse, and redeem us from it so that we can become alive again and set free from the evil clutches of the Satan, someone had to become a sacrificial lamb. That is why God sent his beloved son, the only ‘sacrificial lamb’ whom the world and you by now should know that it’s Jesus! But the religious teachers thought otherwise, all because what they saw was Jesus defying the laws they held sacred and that Jesus as a human being, had committed blasphemy against God for proclaiming himself as the Son of God. They only believed that by observing the laws of Moses, it would be good enough to find favor in the sight of God. But they failed to see who was the real hero in the picture who in the end sacrificed himself to rescue everyone. They read the scriptures everyday at the synagogue, yet they failed to comprehend the prophecies. How unfortunate!
Come to think of it, it’s about the same thing happening in the present day too although only minus Jesus and his real magic show of turning 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread to feed the multitude or turning water into wine at a wedding. Today, sadly people who go to any so-called open-houses during festivities are much the same as going to have their fill only and learned absolutely nothing save gluttony and hypocrisy. And whether anyone denies it or not, it’s about time people should look and check what’s in their hearts and learn instead from what Jesus taught his “open-house” crowd at that time about the bread of life.
Perhaps, if you go on a time-travel machine and go back exactly to that incident where you were with the crowd of people who got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus frantically after having discovered that the boat which you were waiting for it to arrive was not the one that Jesus had entered, then you’d probably be scratching your head wondering or even feel ashamed to find out why was it so difficult for the Jews and even those chief priests and teachers of the laws to catch what Jesus was telling them about the bread of life. It is even more than amusing and shocking when they gave the impression that Jesus was teaching “cannibalism” instead when Jesus used the analogy of eating of his flesh. They got so confused that even many of his disciples turned their back and no longer followed him save only the original twelve.
A Hard Teaching?
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our fore-fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir”, they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him come to me. No-one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.
Your fore-fathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you can eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your fore-fathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live for ever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Casualty Of Truth.
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.”
For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no-one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
So, do you find it surprising that Jesus became a victim of the casualty of truth? Don’t be! Let it be known that there is always a price to pay and much worse if you are telling the truth. It could cost you your life. So you know now that as a result of telling the truth which is doing what’s right, you’re punished instead. Is it the case of good in bad, and bad in good or both are blessing in disguise? But the most important question you must not forget to ask yourself is this. To tell or not to tell? Is it worth it to tell the truth?
There are actually only 2 class of people that makes telling the truth or not telling the truth either a bane or a blessing or even both. It will be a matter of honor and dignity to those who have a heart and conscience when they tell the truth. And of course, it will be a matter of life and death to those who do not have a heart and conscience when they do not tell the truth. For example: If you look at every cases of hit-and-run road accidents today, have you ever heard of any reported cases of those or anyone having committed such grievous offence willingly surrendered at police station and owned up? None? Zero? Why? It’s common sense. Because if you owned up, the chances are, you would face the death penalty if charged in court and proven guilty. Who would want that? Do you? But if you don’t own up, there’s a chance you continue living although you would highly likely be having problems sleeping at night because of feeling guilty, but at least you don’t have to die so quick, right? But then, there’s this guilt inside still pricking your heart and not stop until your heart stops beating. This is where it gets unbearably torturing than going to die a quick death.
So here is the inevitable question that no one can pretend it’s not necessary to answer. Is it better to suffer a quick death with honor and dignity in this life with a clear and clean conscience? Or better to suffer eternal death with the gnashing of teeth that the Bible described? What if you are the one in question of a hit-and-run road accident now? What would choose to do? Do you prefer to become the casualty of truth that truly makes you a real human being who’s answerable to anyone on earth and God in heaven? Or do you prefer continue playing with fire that keeps burning your heart, mind and soul until eternity for not telling the truth and own up to your wrongdoing? So had you not better think wisely if you are driving recklessly on the road?
Have you not had experienced before that you’d still be accused of wrongdoing and whatnot and made to feel guilty even when you have not done anything wrong according to your conscience? But at least you still have the laws to protect you somehow, right? Not anymore! The world is now turning around the other way instead. What’s amusing now is that you are “guilty” until proven innocent. Isn’t that great? Really, does that mean from now on, you have to bend down and put your head between your legs to see things correctly? How could some people get so “imaginative” these days? Where did they get such an “intelligent” idea from? From the Jews? Is it because they saw that’s what happened to Jesus that they couldn’t find any fault in him? And just because he was as human as anyone and said no one is righteous, therefore he must also be made “guilty” until proven innocent? Question is, how can you make a baby, an innocent human being “guilty” even before he learns what is right and what is wrong?
But, if there are any pros and cons in such law, the only pros I can see in having such a law is that it’s certainly not a bad idea after all. Perhaps, if the law would be implemented wisely and correctly for the right purpose, it could actually serve as the best solution to gauge or better yet, end corruption effectively. Since the law declares that a person is “guilty” until proven innocent, this would be best implemented for all the politicians and officials in every government all over the world that they are “corrupt” as in guilty of corruption until all their assets declared to prove their innocence. I think it’s a perfect law that will make perfect governance everywhere in the world. Don’t you think? Of course, if those who are already practicing clean governance by declaring their assets up front, there is no reason for them to fear this law at all. But at the same time, they should also be mindful that it is no good doing it once only. Declaring their assets would only be seen as honorable and trustworthy, if done and updated annually and made transparent for the public to scrutinize. If you have nothing to hide, there is no reason for you not to display your “financial nakedness” to prove accountability and honesty.
Back to the religious laws. There was this controversy that was unnecessary roused up just because Jesus believed he did no wrong for working on a Sabbath day. There was an incident where Jesus healed a man paralyzed for 38 years. Because the good deed he had done that happened on a Sabbath day, they accused Jesus of breaking the law. But Jesus rebuked them by saying that the Sabbath was for man, not man for the Sabbath. It’s not about observing the Sabbath that would save people. It’s about having a heart and conscience that is more important as that was what Jesus trying to reason with them when he said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”
So, the crux of the matter is, if anyone can save a person, why did it matter what day it was or who the person is or defying what law? Is observing the law more important than to save a life, or perhaps a country? India wouldn’t have gotten their independence if it was not because of Gandhi defying laws that he believed were unjust. Here you can see that Jesus was in every way innocent yet they made him feel “guilty” by simply arresting him later and brought him to stand before the chief priest to prove his innocence. Under any international law now, anyone could not have agreed more that Jesus had the right to hold the Jews for contempt of court for producing him in court without charge. Right? Although the chief priest claimed it was not a trial, he had no business questioning Jesus all the same especially when he, as a man of God himself knew no one can do miracles if one is not given power from above. It’s amazing how he failed to realize that he was playing with fire! Today, it’s the same too and worse. It is getting so very incredibly scary if you see through the eyes of Jesus that people are purposely playing with fire for not going down on their knees and repent. It will definitely be too late by the time they feel the real heat of the hell.
Who Can Accept It?
The reason the Jews got themselves so confused was that they couldn’t differentiate between the laws and prophecies in their scriptures that they were reading everyday in their temples. Actually, there is nothing complicated at all. If Christ had yet come, it was necessary then for them to keep observing the laws passed down from Moses only to keep them from sinning until the coming of the Messiah. The only mistake they made was that they expected their Messiah to rise up as a king to fight the intruders and restore the kingdom of Israel. But unfortunately, they misinterpreted the kingdom of God to come that Jesus fulfilled. Now that Jesus had come and fulfilled the prophecies of the prophets, he had made it possible for us to reconcile ourselves with God. So we need only to keep that relationship with God through our faith and Jesus is the link of our faith because he is our one and only mediator appointed, approved and anointed by God. That was the real version of the kingdom of God that Jesus had proclaimed all the while to the Jews which they failed to understand, let alone accepting it! When we are committing sin, our conscience becomes the law and so we can tell. But don’t tell me that as a grown-up, you don’t know you are telling a lie when you are telling a lie? And that you need to refer to your religious court or whatever scriptures to confirm if you’re telling a lie? Is there any logic? Does it make sense?
In my understanding, I believe all laws have its limitation and one cannot and should not entirely rely on them. That’s because even all earthly judges, lawyers and whatnot will also have to stand before God on Judgement Day. But when it comes to sin, it’s a different thing altogether. Why? Because to my knowledge after learning who Jesus is, no religious laws no matter how well you are observing day in and day out will and can in any way wash away your sin like it or not. Don’t be confusing yourself unnecessary. Sin has nothing to do with the law. It’s like water and oil that no matter how you try to mix together will still be separated in the end. Only flesh has everything to do with sin because as Adam and Eve have sinned in their flesh, so are we. That’s why Jesus had to come in the flesh and die in the flesh to reverse our curse which is sin, death and the Devil. Still not getting it?
If you equate your salvation (solution to your sin) to playing football, the result is the same. No matter what tactics or strategies (religious laws or rituals) you use in playing the game, if you don’t score, what’s the point? You end up still the loser. You may say your prayers-by-heart no matter how many times a day, wash your hands, feet and head everyday without fail according to your religious rites, or burn whatever amount of joss-sticks until the sky is choking with haze and making everyone else suffocate and suffering instead, it still does not make any difference. Why? Because doing all these things still will not help one bit in washing away your sin. You are still a sinner in the sight of God! And that means if you still don’t score as in football, what’s the point? Is that so hard to understand? So stop kidding yourself and repent for goodness sake! Only the blood of Jesus can wash away your sin…like it or not!
That’s what Jesus reprimanded those religious teachers at that time who failed to recognize him as their Messiah even though he had performed so many miracles to prove to them that they too, should go down on their knees and repent. Even John the Baptist made an official declaration when he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” It’s exactly the same thing happening today. There are plenty out there who still do not believe in the bread of life that Jesus spoke about that even many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
People today are as confused as those people who some even were disciples of Jesus. It seems to me that people like the idea of being confused and ignorant. And they are still enjoying every minute of it. I guess that’s why even Jesus couldn’t stand such foolishness of man and cried out to God saying, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” I believe he must have been so relieved to get it over as quickly as possible. If God had to come down from heaven to warn us of the serious consequence of not repenting and be reconciled with him, I believe now why there is heaven and hell. Now it is so difficult for me to understand why people still can’t get it in their heads!
God had to sacrifice his beloved son to bring heaven to us, yet we prefer to keep dragging ourselves to hell with our foolishness. Can you imagine if you are a real human being now? If you can, you would do the right thing and that is, repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost! In other words, be born again.
If you like movies, perhaps taking a vampire movie as an example would save you from having to imagine and hurt your head imagining. Supposing you are like a vampire already dead because of your sin (evil deeds). No one can raise you from the dead unless and until you get to drink the purest blood ever available, nothing else will work. So you have to find someone who fits this description to save a dead “vampire” like you. A man named Jesus who loves you regardless of who you are, had made the purest blood ever available to raise you from the dead. And after drinking his blood, you not only rose from the dead but you shall have eternal life as well.
Do you not want to drink this blood?